Crisis

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Crisis TV Poster Image
Twisty hostage drama involves kids in danger.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The search for the perpetrators continues all season, so there's a sense that justice will prevail -- eventually. But there's an equal sense that people can't be trusted and that the world is a dangerous place.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are some well-defined "good guys," but most of the characters keep you guessing in terms of their motives and backstories, in more shades of gray than in black and white.

Violence

Explosions, shootings, and physical combat, with some visible blood (including gorier sights such as severed fingers on occasion). Many characters carry and use weapons.

Sex

Sexual innuendo, such as references that someone wants to "get on" another person or "tap that." There's also an implied romantic relationship between a teacher and a student.

Language

Infrequent cursing includes "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crisis centers on an abducted busload of teens with two adults on board, taking viewers on a season-long search for the missing students and the people who're holding them hostage. Violence drives the story in the form of shootings, explosions, and hand-to-hand combat, so you'll see a little blood and some gory visuals such as a severed finger. You'll also hear light cursing of the "hell"/"damn" variety along with some sexual innuendo from both teens and adults, including references to a romantic relationship between a teacher and a student.

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What's the story?

Structuring each season around a different high-stakes crime involving a complex cast of characters, CRISIS explores the tension among various players, from the unsuspecting victims and their families to the perpetrators behind it all. In the show's premiere season, a busload of teens from a prestigious Washington, D.C., high school -- including the president of the United States' son -- is taken hostage, spurring the FBI and the students' powerful parents into action.

Is it any good?

Crisis certainly isn't the first series to stretch a single plot across an entire season (see also The Killing and The Following), and it probably won't be the last. But it still feels like a fresh concept thanks to a twisty plot that's full of turns and compelling characters who spill their secrets when you're least expecting it. True, the dialogue sometimes borders on hokey, but it hardly matters, considering that the real draw here (aside from big names such as Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney) is the element of surprise.

The series is largely centered on adults, but teens who  watch will definitely see characters they can relate to.​ An added plus for families, at least in the series' first season, is that Crisis offers some fodder for deeper discussion, from school safety and high school politics to parent-child communication and the repercussions of a student-teacher romance. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Crisis's premise and whether any of it could actually happen. How realistically does the series handle the crime and the ensuing search for the hostages? Does watching these fictional events play out make you think twice about taking that next school field trip? What steps does your school take to keep you and your friends safe?

  • How does Crisis explore the role technology plays in our lives, particularly in terms of cell phones and other mobile forms of communication? Does the absence of iPhones and other communication tools we've come to rely on change the way we interact when those things are no longer at our fingertips?

  • How well does Crisis capture modern teen culture? Can you relate to these characters in terms of the relationships they have with their parents and each other?

TV details

For kids who love thrills

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